Real Estate Seller's Guide
How valuable is a yard sign? Yard signs nationwide account for a significant percentage of all sales. The yard sign not only helps prospective buyers to locate available properties, it also helps other real estate persons to be aware of the properties on the market.
Must I elect to utilize a yard sign?
No . . . but! Yard signs are NOT required. However, to deprive your agent of one of the most valuable tools is similar to asking a surgeon to perform surgery without the proper instruments. Not only are yard signs strongly encouraged, their use is considered essential to properly marketing the property.
SHOWING THE PROPERTY
Showing the property is the most critical of phases of home buying yet the most often under emphasized. A well cared for, neat and attractive home will sell more quickly than an uncared for home. The following are but a few suggestions on preparing your home for showing:
Ten Tips For A Faster Sale
- Reduce clutter. Sort through closets, drawers, and storage areas. Toss what
you can, organize the rest. If you have too much furniture in your home, put some
pieces in storage to make a better first impression.
- Clean. Not only should your home be spotless, it must be clean. Apply
elbow grease and strong cleansers to surfaces inside and outside your home. Clean
the window sills. Consider painting if cleaning doesn’t do the job.
- Sparkling windows are a signal to buyers that you care about your home.
Clean your interior and exterior windows. Repair cracked panes, torn screens,
broken sashes, and ropes or cords. Whenever your home is being shown, open
your curtains to let the light in - especially if the view is nice.
- Make minor repairs. Tighten loose knobs, fix leaky faucets and discolored
sinks, lubricate squeaky hinges, clean out clogged drains, replace filters, secure
loose shingles, fix holes in screens, tighten loose banisters, repair doors, door
knobs and remove stains. Clean all curtains and draperies; shampoo rugs and wax
- Arrange furniture to make each room appear larger.
- Make sure all lighting fixtures work. Add new bulbs with the highest
wattage allowed for each fixture to make your room seem brighter.
- Appeal to the senses. Create an aroma during the open house. Burn candles
or potpourri, boil a pot of cinnamon sticks, or put a dab of vanilla on cold light
bulbs before turning them on. If you have pets or if someone in your home
smokes, the odors can linger and lessen your home’s appeal. You might not notice
these smells if you live with them every day, but an unchanged cat box or an
ashtray filled with cigarette butts can mean your home will get no further attention.
- Gussy up the front entrance. A coat of paint on the door; brass accents such
as house numbers, a door knob, and a kick plat; and pruned bushes and blooming
plants can help your home make a good first impression.
- Make sure your doorbell works.
- Paint. Light, neutral colors such as beige, white, off-white, or gray have a better impression on buyers
Remember, You only get one chance to make a first impression!
DON’T TALK TO BUYERS OR BUYERS AGENTS!
You hired a REALTOR® to handle the sale of your property including the negotiation of purchase agreements. Your REALTOR® represents YOU! This is extremely vital to remember in the sale of your property. Other REALTORS® showing your property most likely will be representing the Buyer. Therefore, information that you provide directly to prospective Buyers or the Buyer’s Agent could in fact be used against you in negotiating a purchase agreement.
For example, if you are moving out of the area and are on a tight schedule to do so, this information could be used by a skillful buyer’s agent to negotiate a lower sales price knowing that you have to leave the area in the very near future. The same applies to financial trouble, pending divorce or any type of a “forced sale”.
Your agent will ask that you complete a Property Disclosure Statement that identifies all known facts about a property. These statements are provided to prospective purchasers and/or agents. You are required to disclose all known defects in a property. The disclosure statement should provide the Buyer and/or agent with sufficient detail from which to prepare a contract to purchase. DO NOT DISCUSS THE PROPERTY!
MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE
All properties listed for sale or rent will be placed in the Multiple Listing Service, hereinafter referred to as the MLS. This could be a critical element in helping to insure a quick sale. Beware, not all real estate companies are members of the computerized MLS. The MLS enables all participating members to access information on all properties listed with the service by means of an online computer terminal. Your property will be immediately placed into the MLS system.
Another feature of the MLS system is the “Lock Box” system which with the owners permission, authorizes the listing agent to place a lock box that contains a key to property somewhere on the home. ONLY QUALIFIED REALTORS® HAVE ACCESS TO THE LOCK BOX.
AS AN OWNER, ARE YOU REQUIRED TO USE A LOCK BOX? NO! However, owners must understand that their election NOT to use a lock box could and probably will adversely affect the number of possible buyers from viewing their property.
LOCK BOXES WILL BE PLACED ON PROPERTIES ONLY WITH THE OWNERS SPECIFIC PERMISSION! On rental properties, both the owner and the tenant must approve the use of a lock box.
REALTORS® show properties in one of several ways:
- Lock Box, property vacant
- Lock Box, call agent first
- Appointment Only
- Key Pickup
- Call listing agent for details
The first two methods are understandably the easiest methods to show property. The appointment method is also relatively simple as long as someone is home. The key pickup method is extremely time consuming and oftentimes prevents or discourages properties from being shown when there are similar properties available not requiring the extra step. “Call Listing Agent” should be avoided because it relies entirely upon the availability of the listing agent.
As you are aware, property taxes have become an integral part of home ownership. Specifically, property taxes must be paid in order to effect a transfer of ownership. Florida has long had in effect a Homestead Exemption which significantly decreases the homeowners tax liability on primary residences. It is imperative that in the event a Homestead Exemption DOES NOT apply to your property that this fact be made known to your agent in order to properly advise prospective Buyers.
IT’S SOLD, NOW WHAT?
The acceptance of a contract is only the beginning. There are separate and distinctively different requirements for both the Buyers and the Sellers. The following is a partial list representing the Seller’s requirements:
- It is never too soon to begin planning your move. Contact moving
company representatives as soon as possible. This is especially true in the
summer months or when you expect to move around holidays.
- If you have not done so, begin the selection process for your new home.
Your associate can assist you locally or world-wide with our Relocation Service.
- Not much happens during the first twenty or so days when a Buyer
requires a mortgage. The loan process can take up to 45 days or longer during
- Not long after initial loan application, your associate will make an
appointment to have the appraiser review your property.
- Normally a termite inspection will be conducted as soon as possible.
- Almost all contracts specify that the Buyer has inspection rights. This
can take the form of a walk-through or a complete home inspection by an
independent inspection service. Inspections are normally at the expense of the
Buyer and should be conducted as soon as possible. You need to make your
home available for the inspection process.
- Notify utility companies, post office, telephone company, friends,
relatives, creditors, magazine and newspaper subscriptions of your change of
address. It is critical that you also notify your bank/mortgage company in the
event your mortgage payments are being debited electronically.
- Be ready to vacate your home prior to closing.